Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jun 11 09:26:57 EDT 1991

Raymond's Reviews #111

I've been busy with my own book for months now, but I'm finally out from under and Raymond's Reviews will start appearing regularly once again -- but mostly short takes until I catch up. This is February releases #2.

%T The Harp of the Grey Rose
%A Charles deLint
%I Avon Fantasy
%D February 1991
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 230
%G 0-380-76202-1

DeLint's latest novel is a compactly crafted blend of most of the standard Celto-European fantasy ingredients. The hero is an orphaned youth with the blood of wild folk and harpers but no training. A bevy of legendary creatures, including a dwarf, a half-deer centaur, and a sentient bear, befriend and guide him in a journey that starts as a quest to save a goddess from a broken bargain with an evil god and ends in a struggle to save himself, his friends, and his world from ultimate evil. Though not in the same league as "The Lord of the Rings," or even of "The Fionavar Tapestry," "The Harp of the Grey Rose is an enjoyable quick read for lovers of epic fantasy. [Guest reviewer: Cathy Olanich]

%T Tehanu
%A Ursula K. LeGuin
%I Bantam/Spectra
%D February 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 252
%G 0-553-28873-3

"Tehanu," LeGuin's conclusion to the Earthsea cycle, returns the reader to the island of Gont, where Tenar, once a powerful priestess and apprentice to a mage, has made a quiet living for herself as a farmer's wife. Impressive reading by itself, "Tehanu" gains added richness if read, as the author patently intends, as a conclusion to the three earlier Earthsea books. The only flaw in this movingly written tale is the obviousness with which LeGuin emphasizes the subtler kinds of oppression inflicted upon women by a male-dominated hierarchical culture; a reader sensitive enough to appreciate "Tehanu" is unlikely to need LeGuin's sermonizing, in the form of pseudo- rhetorical questions by her female characters, to get the message. [Guest reviewer: Cathy Olanich]

%T Wild Cards VIII: One-Eyed Jacks
%A George R. R. Martin, ed.
%I Bantam Spectra
%D February 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 326
%G 0-553-28852-0

Martin and the authors who have collaborated on the various "Wild Cards" stories are to be commended for turning out story anthologies of high, consistent quality. "One-Eyed Jacks," the eighth of these anthologies, continues the trend. Unfortunately, this collection exemplifies another trend of the series -- depicting increasing levels of violence, misery, and psychopathic joker and ace behavior. For those unrepelled by mega-doses of gore and crime, however, "One-Eyed Jacks" is a good, fast-paced read. [Guest reviewer: Cathy Olanich]

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jun 11 09:26:57 EDT 1991

Eric S. Raymond <esr@snark.thyrsus.com>